Western Trillium Flowers in the Fraser Valley Of BC

A pair of Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) flowers in the forest at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, BC.

pair of western white trillium flowers at campbell valley park

A pair of Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) flowers at Campbell Valley Regional Park (Purchase)

A number of years ago I temporarily gave up on photographing Western Trilliums in the various parks I frequent as I wasn’t having much success. I enjoy finding these somewhat rare flowers in the forest, and usually photographed them each spring along with the much more common Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa). While I had some success about 10 years ago, for quite a few years I came up empty, got the timing wrong, or someone had picked the flowers. So for a few years I didn’t have these flowers on my spring agenda specifically, and photographed other subjects instead. I came across the flower below next to a cedar tree while not really looking for photography subjects and a few days later came back and made all of the photographs in this post in one afternoon.

Western Trilliums are also known as Pacific Trillium, Wake Robins, and Western White Trillium. They grow in western North America, from here in Southern BC down to central California, and as far east as Alberta, Idaho, and Montana. Trilliums are a perennial plant that grows up above the surface from rhizomes. Technically, they do not produce true leaves above the ground. The stem is considered a part of the rhizome and the above ground part of the plant is an upright flowering scape. The leaf like structures, which most still generally refer to as leaves as they are photosynthetic, are bracts – a kind of modified leaf. One familiar example of bracts are the bright parts of the poinsettia “flower”, which are not the true flower, nor are they true leaves.

western trillium flowers at williams park with tree trunk

Western Trillium (T. ovatum) flower at Williams Park (Purchase)

The Western Trillium tends to be found growing in coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests here in British Columbia. The two places I found them the most frequently this year were those kinds of forests in Langley’s Williams Park and the Metro Vancouver’s Campbell Valley Regional Park. The first photograph here shows a pair of Trillium blooms in Campbell Valley Park, in a mostly coniferous forest. The second photograph above shows a maturing flower at the base of a cedar trunk along with a frequent companion – the Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa). Despite the much higher than usual traffic on the trails this spring I was happy to find no flowers that had been picked. In southwestern British Columbia Trilliums can most often be found flowering in March or April, with some still lingering into May depending on the weather. I photographed all of these in the third week of April.

group of pacific trillium flowers on forest floor

A group of Trillium flowers growing on the forest floor (Purchase)

Some T. ovatum plants emerge as individual stalks, but sometimes can be found in a group. I am not sure if they will grow multiple stalks from the same rhizome, but in the photo above, I would think this large group is the result of multiple plants growing in the same area.

Western Trillium flowers start out white, but as they mature turn a pink or purple colour. I photographed the flower below in Williams Park, and it had turned a very nice dark shade of pink/purple at that time. You can see the brown starting to form on the lower left petal which is a sign this flower had nearly reached the end of its display. The numerous seeds from the resulting fruit is quite attractive to ants and is often dispersed by them as they take the fruit back to their nests.

mature western trillium flower turning purple

Mature Western Trillium Flower in Williams Park (Purchase)

While mature Trillium plants will keep the above ground portion of the scape intact for a time after flowering (given there is sufficient moisture), the less mature tend to disintegrate the above ground plant more quickly.

pair of pacific trillium flowers at campbell valley park

Pair of Trillium Flowers Growing Together under the Forest Canopy (Purchase)

Depending on conditions T. ovatum may go into dormancy for a few years before growing an above ground scape and flowers again. This could be one reason I had little success for a few years in finding them, though it seems unlikely they’d be dormant all at once in such numbers. The Trillium below was interesting as it was all by itself, there were very few other plants around it on the forest floor. I’d previously mostly frequently encountered them mixed in with Bleeding Hearts, Sword Ferns, False lily-of-the-valley, Foam flower, or under Salmonberry Bushes.

white trillium flower and leaves

A White Trillium Flower in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

For more photographs of Trilliums and other wildflowers visit my Wildflower Photos Gallery.

A Few Spring and Summer Wildflowers

Spring and Summer Wildflowers – this Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) was found blooming at Williams Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

siberian miners lettuce claytonia sibirica flowers

Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) Flowering (Purchase)

I’ve photographed a few species of wildflowers in parks near where I live this spring and summer, and I thought I’d put them all in one post. The above photograph is a Siberian Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) plant I found blooming this spring at Williams Park in Langley, BC. I photographed the Miner’s Lettuce during one of my first tentative trips out to photograph after being mostly at home due to the pandemic. I’ve usually seen Siberian Miner’s Lettuce in closer proximity to each other, but this one was standing almost alone so I could isolate it in the photograph.

Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris)

smooth hawksbeard crepis capillaris flowers

Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris) Flowers (Purchase)

I photographed these Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris) flowers this summer in a field at Campbell Valley Regional Park. I hadn’t explored this particular part of the park before, so I didn’t have any expectations. I had a close encounter with a very healthy looking Coyote while it was hunting in the field, but this came as I had a wide angle lens on my camera (of course). It stayed around long enough for me to switch to a 100-400 but when I slowly stood up again to see if it was there it ran off. However, I kept the 100-400 on for the remaining time I had in the field and photographed these Hawksbeard flowers using that lens. I stay on trails, so the longer focal length (318mm) I was able to use here came in handy. While I bought it for wildlife this lens can make a small subject like wildflowers feel pretty close even though I’m many feet away.

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca)

tufted vetch vicia cracca with bumblebees

Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) Flowers Visited by Bumblebees (Purchase)

I photographed this Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) in the same Campbell Valley Park field this spring while it was being visited by a few bumblebees. This was from 2.45 meters (8 feet) away – so I was glad to have the longer lens. I made a few photographs of various Vetch plants in the field, but the bumblebees really seemed to love this one, so I stuck with it and was happy to get some photos with multiple bees at once.

Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum)

I have only seen Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum) blooming in the wild once before – and that was on Vancouver Island near Port Alberni (Stamp River Falls) in 2013. So when I found these flowers in the forest next to a trail early this summer in Aldergrove Regional Park I was glad I had my camera with me. Also known as the Columbia Lily or Oregon Lily – Tiger Lilies were eaten by the Coast Salish people usually as a flavouring or condiment. The very green maple leaves mixed in appear to belong to a young Vine Maple tree.

tiger lilies blooming flowers

Tiger Lilies (Lilium columbianum) in Aldergrove Regional Park (Purchase)

Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum)

I photographed these Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum) flowers and leaves on the forest floor at Campbell Valley Regional Park while photographing the Barred Owl owlets a few weeks ago. I usually notice Avens when the velcro like hooks on the seeds grab onto my clothing and come home for a ride. This method of seed distribution seems quite effective though I am probably not the target animal for that kind of distribution. This time, however, they were flowering right next to the trail where I was photographing the owls, so I took a break from recording owl screeching sounds to photograph a few flowers near the trail.

large leaved avens flowers geum macrophyllum

Large-leaved Avens (Geum macrophyllum) flowers and leaves (Purchase)

You can see these and more photographs of spring and summer wildflowers in my Wildflower Photos Gallery.

Stream Violet (Viola gabella) Flowers in Golden Ears Park

A pair of Stream Violet (Viola gabella) flowers at Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

stream violet flowers viola gabella at golden ears park

Stream Violet Flowers (Viola gabella) at Golden Ears Park (Purchase)

I haven’t shared any wildflower photographs here in a while so I thought I’d post these Stream Violet flowers (Viola gabella) I came across a few weeks ago. Now that the spring rains are here I’ve not been out walking as much, so I took the opportunity on this day to get out and walk about 10km in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Along one of the trails near Gold Creek I saw these Stream Violets blooming but for some reason didn’t photograph them until I passed them again on the way back. I was mainly out for the exercise and to scout one location but I had my camera with me of course.

stream violet flower viola gabella at golden ears park

Stream Violet Flowers (Viola gabella) at Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

Stream Violets and a few other species of yellow flowered Viola here in BC are a bit difficult to ID, but I think these are the correct species. The Stream Violets go by other names as well – Yellow Wood Violet and Pioneer Violet. These Violets tend to grow along streams or in moist areas in forests, which were the conditions I found them in along Gold Creek.

You can see more wildflower photographs in my Wildflower Gallery.

Lower Falls Trail in Golden Ears Provincial Park

I have a batch of newer images from this location in this post: Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park.

Lower Falls and the emerald pools of Gold Creek at Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

lower falls and emerald pools of gold creek in golden ears provincial park

Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   One of the easier hikes to do in Golden Ears Provincial Park is the Lower Falls Trail (map) along Gold Creek. The trailhead is easy to find at the northwest end of the parking lot (the grey spot just after the Gold Creek Bridge on the map linked earlier). This hike is only 5.5km (round trip) and has minimal elevation change which makes it much more accessible than some of the other trails in Golden Ears Park. The trail has also been upgraded in recent years, so much of it is crushed gravel. Personally I dislike walking on crushed gravel and prefer a natural trail even with tree roots, slugs and the occasional puddle. I guess the resurfacing does have some benefit in initial parts of the trail that were often filled with puddles and mud in the spring and fall, but I would have preferred they left the rest as is. I have previously hiked to Alder Flats on a number of occasions, and while that is a nice hike, it doesn’t have the scenery one gets to enjoy along the much easier Lower Falls Trail.

   After walking about 1km up the trail from the parking lot I came to the first spot where I stopped for photography. There are many small side trails down to the creek along the entire Lower Falls Trail (be sure to follow those instead of making your own). My first stop was only about 5 meters from the trail and showed a nice summer view of Gold Creek. This looks to be a good spot to stop during fall foliage colors as well.

   My next stop was probably the most famous spot along the Lower Falls Trail – the viewpoint where one can see Gold Creek and parts of Mount Blandshard. Just before this viewpoint you’ll see a number of side trails to a beach which is a great spot to stop and eat lunch or just relax.

lower falls and gold creek with a flowering streambank arnica

Lower Falls and Streambank Arnica (Purchase)

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   After a 10-15 minute walk from the viewpoint I arrived at my ultimate destination: Lower Falls itself. The water levels shown here are probably more typical in late August, but were this low in late June due to our lack of winter snowpack in the mountains and a drought this spring/summer. In normal years this waterfall will be a raging torrent in fall, winter and spring – and can be quite dangerous. I was able to get up on a rock and photograph Lower Falls from a nice vantage point but only due to the lower water levels and lack of strong currents (and depth) in the water below. In far too many of the past years people have fallen into the water at various points in Gold Creek and died as a result.

   Many of the cracks in the rocks near Lower Falls had Streambank Arnica (Arnica amplexicaulis) growing in them. I was lucky that one of the Arnica plants was in a good position to include in the above composition along with the waterfall. On my way back to the main viewing platform I photographed one of the other Streambank Arnica plants growing in a crack in one of the boulders beneath the falls.

streambank arnica growing out of rocks near lower falls

Streambank Arnica (Arnica amplexicaulis) flowering next to Lower Falls (Purchase)

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For more of my photographs from the Golden Ears area visit my Golden Ears Provincial Park Gallery.

Hiking in the Wildflowers at Mount Rainier National Park

Hiking in the wildflowers around Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

hiking in the wildflowers at mount rainier national park

Hiking in the Wildflowers at Mount Rainier’s Tipsoo Lake

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Due to the very dry, hot spring/summer which has come after a winter with a lower than normal snowpack, I hear the wildflowers are nearing (or at) peak now at Mount Rainier (July 1, 2015).

   2012 was the first time I visited Mount Rainier National Park during the height of the wildflowers in the Paradise and Tipsoo Lake areas. I had been to Rainier a few times at that point, but once you see fields of wildflowers this dense it becomes harder to visit any other time of year. I made this image of 3 hikers near Tipsoo Lake on a foggy afternoon which made for perfect conditions to photograph this location.

For more wildflower photographs from this and other visits to the park please take a look at my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

Bigleaf Lupines at Elgin Heritage Park

Bigleaf Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus) in the forest at Elgin Heritage Park in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

bigleaf lupines at elgin heritage park in crescent beach

Bigleaf Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) at Elgin Heritage Park in Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   These are some of the numerous Bigleaf Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus) growing in Elgin Heritage Park in Surrey, BC. On my way to photograph Red-winged Blackbirds in the marsh boardwalk, I stopped to photograph these lupines growing in some of the meadows along the way. I’ve mostly seen these lupines on the roadsides around Metro Vancouver and into the Fraser Valley, so it was nice to see them in relatively photogenic location.

bigleaf lupines at elgin heritage park in crescent beach

“Barn” nesting space for Barn Owls at Elgin Heritage Park (Purchase)

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   This is a small “barn” built in Elgin Heritage Park to encourage nesting Barn Owls. This seems like a good location for owls, I saw many small rodents (and not just baby rabbits) around the trails, especially under the boardwalk in the marsh.

For more of my wildflower photography please visit my Wildflower Gallery in my Image Library.

Mount Rainier from Sunrise

Mount Rainier and the White River Valley in late Summer from the vantage point of the Sunrise Rim Trail in Mount Rainier National Park. Foreground flowers are Alpine Aster (Aster alpigenus) and Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora).

mount rainier and wildflowers from the sunrise rim trail

Wildflowers at Mount Rainier’s Sunrise Rim Trail (Purchase)

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   Back in 2012 I was on a trip photographing Mount Rainier National Park. This was the first time I had visited at a good time for the wildflower display at Rainier. I had already photographed some great flower displays at Tipsoo Lake, but was visiting the Sunrise area as Paradise was fogged in. You can’t see any of the clouds in this photograph but on the other side of the mountain visibility was very poor all day. From Paradise you could barely make out the Tatoosh Range through all the clouds. This is one of the reasons I enjoy the fact they have web cameras at various areas of the park – I can scout the locations ahead for time for weather that might be a problem. On this day I opted for the Sunrise area over Paradise (due to what I saw on the webcam) so I would be able to see Rainier itself. This photo is from the Sunrise Rim Trail on the way back from Shadow Lake.

For more images of this area visit my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery in my Image Library.

Tatoosh Sunset from Mazama Ridge

Wildflowers and the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

sunset at the tatoosh range on mazama ridge in rainier national park

Wildflowers on Mazama Ridge (Purchase)

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   A slightly different version of some previous photographs of the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge in Washington State’s Mount Rainier National Park. I had a great evening hiking from the Paradise area, and this sunset was a big part of that. This area remains one of my favourite places in the park, and the near constant view of the Tatoosh Range is one big reason why. Wildflowers also help. Next time I will hike from the Paradise Inn, not from the bottom of Paradise Valley, however. Not a forgiving trail in the dark!

You can view more of my photography from this and surrounding Mount Rainier areas in my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.